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OAP Power: The Adverts Making Old Age Cool Again

Advertising has played a surprising role in leading the way on challenging OAP stereotypes. With an increasingly elderly population to sell their products too, advertisers have been forced to change tack with their marketing campaigns. Extolling the virtues of youth for decades, more and more advertisers now choose to focus on the older age bracket. As well as creating ads that appeal to the older generation, they've taken to favouring famous elderly faces over supermodels in recent years too.

OAPs haven't had this much street cred since Monty Python's Hells Grannies terrorised the young punks of London. But there's a serious issue that underlines the importance of this new advertising trend. Our population is ageing, and we've yet to come to terms with that. The BBC recently devoted a whole season to the way in which we cruelly sideline and ignore our elderly population, a rallying cry for OAPs everywhere to make their voices heard, and for the younger generation to sit up and listen. We desperately need a change in attitudes, and ironically, the marketing men have helped us take that first step towards doing so.

We take a look at some of the now iconic adverts that have helped change the way we view our ageing population, making growing old cool again.

Barbara Windsor for Jackpotjoy

The nation's favourite Carry On girl, Babs has been a famous British face for decades. She's recently swapped pulling pints in the Queen Vic for a more regal role as the new Queen of Bingo for Jackpotjoy. Her latest advert for the UK's leading bingo site Jackpotjoy sees her encouraging oldies, and all of us, to have a little more fun. The tongue-in-cheek ad sees Babs prevailing over a high-speed drag race, only the competitors aren't brooding teens in their souped-up motors, they're an elderly couple putting their mobility scooters' horse power to the test.

Betty White for Snickers

When the American Superbowl rolls around, it's often the half-time adverts that create a bigger buzz than the final score. One standout commercial from 2010 (below) shocked and delighted audiences thanks to a stellar performance from Golden Girl Betty White. Tackled into the mud and talking as tough as any American football player, Betty not only reminded us that OAPs can compete with the young'uns, age with attitude, and be just as potty-mouthed as the rest of us, she relaunched her acting career at the ripe old age of 88 too. Betty's since gone on to become a TV favourite, starring in cult sitcom hit Hot in Cleveland, and her own reality TV series Off Their Rockers, which sees old age pensioners playing delicious pranks on unsuspecting youngsters. If there's one lady that proves its hip to have a hip replacement, it's Betty.

Twiggy for M&S

The recent wave of OAP advertising has proved that golden oldies have more than just a sense of humour, they can still be sexy too. Swinging sixties supermodel Twiggy is now in her sixties, and in her second flush with fame she's become a runaway success as one of the famous faces of Marks and Spencers. Modelling their fashion range alongside hip young supermodels Erin O'Connor and Lily Cole, she's shown that you can look utterly stylish no matter what your age. Now launching her second collection for the store, Twiggy has her heart set on creating fashionable, flattering clothing for older women, challenging the high street to step up and cater to fashionable women of all ages.

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